Reachable

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019


Now is the fulfillment time, God’s Realm is within reach.
Mark 1: 15

Seeker,
How long is your life’s reach?

As a young man
I was blessed to live, for a time,
among tribal people in the Amazon rain-forest.

Once, the whole village
set off for a fishing camp
along a distant tributary.

In single file
we walked a narrow forest track
through swirling predawn mist.

Along the way women and girls
reached down with ease to pick up pods,
cracked open by monkeys and macaws.

Some of the Brazil nuts
they placed in baskets,
others they simply pushed into the soil.

All the while, high above us in each direction
tall trees converged into the distance;
a seamless canopy hung with Brazil nuts.

Suddenly it struck me;
as we walked, they were gently harvesting and planting
an endless avenue of lofty nut trees.

Later I was astounded
to discover that these trees
grow up to 150 feet tall and live for 500 years.

How far-sighted to consider,
when taking a walk, to guarantee a verdant store
of food and shelter for twenty generations to come!

So, I am left to wonder,
in the midst of my mundane tasks and travels,
what consideration I give to the latitude of life here and hereafter.

And what will remain
one hundred years hence,
of my life, loves and legacy?

I am one with the source insofar as I too act as a source by making everything I have received flow again. Raimon Panikkar

Whenever we make ourselves available,
receptive to reality unfolding,
we become reachable.

Oh to have hearts laid open,
till all the world spills in
and we feel at home with the wholeness of being.

What other purpose then for prayer,
but to dispel every illusion of separation
and delusion of division.

And rather than close eyes and ears
to the tides of these trying times,
constantly treading waters of distraction and distress,

we might surrender to the buoyancy of the swell
and be carried away by the sweep
of currents much broader and deeper.

Are we not all born to be visionaries,
made for mysticism,
shaped to receive, reflect and reverence?

God, whose love and joy are present everywhere,
cannot come to visit you unless you are not there.

Angelus Silesius

Prayerful presence then is at once a planting and a harvest
of simple, intentional invitations to life
that are always outreaching and open-ended.

Thus, looking out, over and beyond,
gazing further and deeper down,
prayer provides a corrective lens to collective nearsightedness;

extending our attention span
to bridge the chasm
of busyness and boredom,

befriending quiet
till softer sounds
become perceptible.

Such are the fruits of receptivity
to a Realm that is not quite beyond us
but over-washes us should we make ourselves reachable.

We wait in the quietness for some centering moment that will redefine, reshape and refocus our lives … Dost Thou understand what it is like to be caught between the agony of one’s own private needs and to be tempest-tossed by needs that overwhelm and stagger the mind and paralyze the heart? … For the long loneliness, the deep and searching joy and satisfaction, the boundless vision … we thank Thee. Howard Thurman

joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am

Re-Sourcing

Photo By Joe Grant © 2019

How blessed the lowly, earth shall be theirs.
Matthew 5:5

Seeker,
Could we be responsible for anything and everyone we touch?

At this moment,
no matter where you find yourself,
surely you are touching something manufactured.

Most likely you are handling plastic,
wreathed as we are
in all things synthetic.

Cast your eyes on your surroundings;
the multitude of objects, surfaces, clothes, and containers,
crafted in countries far distant, by fingers unseen.

So many miraculous manipulations of oil,
Earth’s ancestral legacy,
made solid and see-through; ubiquitous and nearly everlasting.

Replacing wood and stone, leather and bone,
clay, glass, and steel,
the blessing of petrochemical polymers has now become a blight.

Unless we swiftly and radically redirect
this working, wanting, wasting spree,
three decades more, and plastic trash will outweigh all the fish in the sea.

The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. Pope Francis

And whatsoever we do
unto to God’s good garden
we do unto to the cherished children and humble creatures.

This is disaster of our own doing,
billions of lives— without exception or exemption—
trapped in spirals of consuming and discarding.

How can goods be good for us
if they are not good for all;
for plants, plankton, people; for all creatures great and small?

And how are we to disentangle
practiced patterns and appetites
from the ruination of Creation; throwing life and lives away?

They have made my land a desolation;
desolate, it mourns to me.
The whole land is made desolate,
but no one lays it to heart.

Jeremiah 12:11

Perhaps, like all things “soiled”,
the transformation imperceptibly it starts,
like sap that in Springtime rises with the warming wind.

We become aware, we reach out to whatever
crosses our palms or graces our eyes— coffee-cups,
computer keys, handshakes, buds, branches and sacred sunlit leaves.

Touched thus by life, God-made and human-shaped,
we can wonder at Creation,
contemplate components, count the costs and casualties of everything.

We might also try to re-trace the stories
of the stuff that stuffs our days
back to each beginning; its very sacred Source.

The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God. Thomas Merton

Whether wood or rock, paper, plastic, or person,
are we not all, in some way responsible,
for whatever, whomsoever we touch?

To the trio of “reduce, reuse, recycle
might we also add reflect and return;
a grateful heart to the Source of All, and all those in between?

By regularly re-Sourcing our lives,
we might be healed enough of hurting and hoarding,
to graciously release the good that is only loan to us.

They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will fill with knowledge of the Holy ONE
as waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9

How will you retrace the blessings and burdens that grace your day ?
joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am

Uncap the Well

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

Forgive, and you shall know forgiveness; give, and it will be lavished upon you. A goodly measure, pressed down, shaken and spilling over, shall be poured into your lap; for the measure you mete out will be the measure you get back.
Luke 6:37-38

Seeker,
Do you worry and wonder about what is happening to us?

In fear-filled times
we are tempted to protect personal assets,
throw walls around territories, and stockpile for scarcity.

Manipulated messages prey upon the silent (consenting) masses;
milking the venom of vindictiveness;
heightening the instinct to hold back.

With disgraceful insinuations and petulant pronouncements
some conspire only to segregate or scapegoat—
so easy to conquer the so-well sided.

Still others would storm the bastion of righteousness
to poison youthful passion with hateful conspiracies
and horror guised as honor or holiness.

And, as the bar of acceptable human behavior drops,
insults and demonizing ideologies
spiral and spin into dark webs of violent idolatries.

Bluster builds to an acrimonious squall.
Hatred fuels a whirlwind of flapping flags,
fiery crosses, prideful parades of power, mobs and derisive chanting.

And lodged deep, in grainy black and white,
memories of dread-full times (not so long past)
stir-up a disorienting dose of déjà vu.

Whatever God does, the first outburst is always compassion. Meister Eckhart

What bridge can span
the canyons of bitter segregation,
amid a hailstorm of threats and taunts?

Surely truthful reconciliation
is the only conduit capable of crossing the chasm
that separates retribution from restoration.

But who dares display
the necessary remorse
that gives way to mutual pardon?

Love every enemy,
to those who despise you do good,
bless everyone who curses you,
pray for anyone who abuses you.

Luke 6:27-28

There is no time left for holding back tears.
Only lament can release mercy’s unction
to unhinge the encrusted doorway to peace.

With courageous resolution,
daily choosing love over control,
we can gently and persistently uncap the well of great-fullness.

Now, generosity and gratitude
overflow the brimming bounty of blessings,
freely received and given and shared.

Try saying this silently to everyone and everything you see for thirty days: “I wish you happiness now and whatever will bring happiness to you in the future.” If we said it to the sky, we would have to stop polluting; if we said it when we see ponds and lakes and streams, we would have to stop using them as garbage dumps and sewers; if we said it to small children, we would have to stop abusing them, even in the name of training; if we said it to people, we would have to stop stoking the fires of enmity around us. Beauty and human warmth would take root in us like a clear, hot June day. We would change. Joan Chittister

Will you bare
a listening heart
to a torrent of tirades?

Will you unseal the font of forgiveness within,
to lavish compassion and dwell in abundance
till fear itself is washed away?

joe

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am